Freddie Jackson

Associate Director

Sketching gives me the chance to quickly visualise a discussion and test ideas from the get-go.”

Sitting down with a strong cup of coffee and discussing new ideas for places and spaces is the best way to start the day. I never want to be stuck on one idea, and it’s sketching that gives me the chance to quickly visualise a discussion and test ideas from the get-go.

Early on in my time here at Studio Egret West, this inquisitive sketching approach helped our team save the Mayfield Depot in Manchester from being demolished. This charming old steel beast of a building was ‘in the way’ of the site, but today the Mayfield Depot is a popular, year-round destination for the people of Manchester, hosting food markets, Manchester International Festival, Manchester Pride Live and even mountain biking (a long-time hobby of mine). The first sketches showing an elevated park along the disused tracks above the depot should come to fruition over the next couple of years as we continue to unlock this place.

I always try to spot the smaller opportunities within big projects, looking out for moments of joy – especially if they can help animate forgotten spaces from day one. At SEW, I’ve been able to put this approach into practice on projects like the Horniman Museum in south London, the new Fashion District in Hackney, Digbeth conservation area in Birmingham, infrastructure projects for TfL, and post-industrial docklands in Salford.

I always want to learn something new from these places and the people involved. It’s inspiring to see how exercises on paper, clarity of thought and collaboration can make real positive changes in the world.

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